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Eee Is 1st Windows Laptop To Support Multi-Touch 237

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-playing-catch-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNET UK has just put up its review of the Asus Eee PC 900 Win running Windows XP and discovered that it's the first Windows machine to support multi-touch, 'Better still, the mouse trackpad supports multi-touch gesture inputs — even in Windows XP. A pinching motion lets you zoom in on images, stretching lets you zoom out, and a two-finger vertical stroking motion allows you to scroll up and down through documents. MacBook Air and iPod touch users have enjoyed this feature for some time, but it's the first we've ever seen it implemented on a Windows laptop.'"
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Eee Is 1st Windows Laptop To Support Multi-Touch

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19, 2008 @03:36AM (#23125900)
    Does the 900 fix the problems experienced in the 700 series like the built-in flakey SDHC controller (which is only spec'd for SD cards, but sometimes works for SDHCs) or the loud fan problems of the 702s?
  • by Kenja (541830) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:12AM (#23126028)
    The first Multi Touch style demo I ever saw was several years ago from Microsoft.
  • by 1 a bee (817783) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @04:43AM (#23126128)
    Rather than this windows XP gimmick (which according to the article, they had to sacrifice hardware to keep price parity with the Linux version), I would have liked to have seen the Eee series' SSDs be easy to attach and detach. Then you could conceivably run a given operating environment on multiple Eee platforms. I use a portable OS on a USB called FaunOS [faunos.com]. The logic of centralizing my operating environment on a single detachable device has sunk in for me. Now with the Eee PCs, I think it would be cool if Asus packaged a detachable SSD so that you could unplug it from the Eee in the kitchen, and plug it back in to the Eee in the bedroom. Best of all, each of my kids could have their own SSD, so that we wouldn't muck around with each other's OS's. I could probably pull this off with FaunOS [Google search] [google.com], but I think it would have been much cooler if I could use the Eee's SSD like I'm using the USB.

    --
    the glass is half broken

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:02AM (#23126182) Homepage
    I'd still rather have the Linux version with an extra 8 gig of memory.
  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:34AM (#23126294)
    But, as usual with Microsoft, the really cool functions and innovations continue to be postponed to "the next release".

    It is quite sad that a cool and very useful feature demonstrated years ago by the leading software maker (by revenue) in the world, has to be made popular by implementation in a mobile phone by a total newcomer in that market (Apple with the iPhone), followed by implementation by a hardware maker on a low-end, low-cost laptop (the EEE). And it is not that this leading software maker can not get hardware makers to change the hardware standards, thinking of the Windows key that is present on virtually any keyboard now on the market.

  • by lixee (863589) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:34AM (#23126296)
    The 20G Xandros Eee seems like a classic case of bait-and-switch to me. A company that couldn't even deliver the 8G is now supposed to sell us 20Gs? I'm not convinced. I smell a deal with MS whereby there is always a severe shortage of Xandros and everyone walking into the store will be forced to get the XP version. And no, I'm not usually a cynic.
  • by nguy (1207026) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @06:07AM (#23126372)
    Especially the "making it actually usable" part.

    I think Apple's track record is decidedly mixed; they have committed awful usability blunders in the past. I think on balance, they are no better than FOSS.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    I'm not so sure about that either. Apple's primary business model seems to be to take people's money and spend it on marketing and packaging, while grabbing other people's technologies wherever they can. That seems vaguely parasitic to me...
  • Re:Linux Multitouch? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:44AM (#23126690) Journal
    I've not looked at MPX, but the correct way of implementing multitouch gesture support in X would be to add it as another (virtual) axis on the input device, just as is done with scroll wheels. Your apps would see two axes for moving, two for scrolling, one for zooming and one for rotating, giving 6 axes in total. X already supports six axis input devices and it's much easier to add virtual ones with the new input code (in 7.4, I think, not sure if it made it into 7.3). Then the support your toolkit needs to provide is minimal - as long as it lets you track mouse movements you can use it.

    Oh, and the claim on the MPX site that it's the first implementation of a multi-pointer windowing system is just plain nonsense - I used a multi-pointer, multi-monitor, version of Windows 3.1 back in 1992.

  • Re:keyboard is king (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tehBoris (1120961) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:44AM (#23126694)

    If you are using Firefox or Epiphany, pressing / will allow you to search the text of the link and press enter to access it.

    Or you could just use a CLI browser to minimize the use of the rodent. [nongnu.org]

  • by yelvington (8169) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:52AM (#23126718) Homepage
    These discussions are chronically unproductive because they attract postings from True Believers who aren't capable of seeing the flaws in their Chosen Products and have no significant, current real-world experience with the alternatives.

    The Macintosh UI is a rat's nest of bad design decisions and inconsistencies.

    So is the Windows UI, and so are the several Linux desktops.

    They all suck. Get used to it.

    I use a high-end Powerbook as my primary work tool every single day. I have a couple of XP machines sitting around the house (old desktop, wife's Vaio laptop), have run Linux since kernel 0.96 or so, have a Linux-powered Nokia 800 in my pocket, and have installed Ubuntu on the computers of my kids and their grandmothers. (Vista has been banned from my presence.)

    All of them, including the Macintosh, fall apart under scrutiny when it comes to UI. (Why is the menu bar on a DIFFERENT MONITOR THAN THE ONE I AM USING? This is not single-tasking 1984! Why do I drag something to the trash can when I don't want to delete it? And what idiot actually thinks Finder is a decent way to launch applications? And why is it so slow? And, and, and....)

    And when it comes to hardware, the general rule on the Mac is that it Just Works only if you buy pricey Apple-branded add-ons.

    Anything else is a complete crap shoot. Odds of getting my USB hard drive to work on a Mac are slim and none, yet it Just Works with every Linux system I've tried. Without touching configuration files (I don't even know where they are any more).

    On balance I like my Powerbook a lot more than the dead Windows Compaq it replaced, and it's infinitely more secure. But there are all sorts of Linux features it doesn't have, such as the very slick virtual filesystem that lets me mount my webserver folders via ssh/sftp, and I miss the vast quantities of software for Linux. And, because I have to work with Exchange, I'm really frustrated with the Mac's calendaring. So it's entirely possible that when my Mac dies, the replacement will be a Linux laptop, especially now that the Eee has the multitouch pad.
  • by smallfries (601545) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @08:28AM (#23126844) Homepage
    It's strange that you say that because the first multi-touch demo that I remember seeing was a table sized input device that they used to control C&C and google earth. It strikes me as strange because it is the exact same technology that Microsoft have cloned and claimed to have invented with the Surface... Small world when you're competing with Microsoft I guess.
  • by Railek (1275890) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @09:00AM (#23126972)
    I don't get why people have trouble remembering actual breakthroughs until someone like Apple buys out the technology - multitouch has been out for YEARS on Windows, Mac OS X, and I believe Linux.

    The REAL inventer of the technology is Fingerworks, who had a whole lineup of the products - everywhere from full keyboards (Touchstream SP/LP) down to "small" 8"x6" multitouch surfaces. They even had a replacement keyboard for iBooks that replaced the ENTIRE keyboard with a multitouch surface.

    Their gestures are also much more advanced than what Apple is now offering, and it quite pisses me off that I can no longer buy the truly advanced hardware without shelling out $800 on eBay on a good day (The Touchstreams in good condition typically reach $1200).

    Their website is now rather barebones since they were bought out a few years ago and it's since been revealed that it actually was Apple who bought them. You can see a full list of what gestures they were actually able to support at http://www.fingerworks.com/touchstream_gesture_guide.html [fingerworks.com] - and that's not even the least of it - since the drivers were open, you could even make your own gestures!

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